So I have some thoughts and questions about Winston winning the Heisman under a cloud of accusations. Please don't get all worked up and think I am coming down on one side or the other.
Highly doubtful that any of us knows the facts of the case, so I think it's useful to attempt to look at both sides.
One thing they have said publicly is that the girl went to the hospital and said she was sexually assaulted. When the DNA came back, it was a positive match with Winston who claimed that the sex was consensual.
It seems to me that this matter was not, and still hasn't been investigated properly. The question has to be asked: "Why wasn't this case prosecuted when it happened? The Police say the victim declined to prosecute, which seems odd considering she went to the hospital, reported the assault, had the rape kit done, and went to the police.
The family claims the police department discouraged them from following through.
"In two statements issued in the past week, the family maintained Patricia Carroll was told by a detective that Tallahassee is a "big football town and the victim needs to think long and hard before proceeding against him because she will be raked over the coals and her life will be made miserable.""http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/ncaaf/2013/11/24/police-handling-of-fsu-players-case-under-fire/3691827/
As you will see in the quotes below, the Tallahassee Police Department has a terrible record, and 2 of the more notable victims as indicated by the Grand Jury (there were 5 Grand Jury investigations) were women.
Watching some of the shows about Heisman picks, these guys are all in love with Winston and what a great player he is and it worries me that they aren't addressing the sexual assault accusations. Every other news outlet is talking about it. Maybe they just don't want to dampen the enthusiasm over the voting. It worries me though what kind of message this might send.
How will the Heisman program look if they vote Winston in, and the Governor of Florida does as the girl's lawyer requests and investigates the Tallahassee Sherriff's department, only to find out there is evidence of wrong doing? There is a possibility that it wasn't "consensual" as Winston claims, and if he wins the Heisman, it will lose all credibility.
I understand the vote goes to the best college player but look at what happened to Reggie Bush, over what? Minor BS imho. He never should have had to give that trophy back because he was the best football player in college. It's the boosters who should be penalized, not the 18 year old kid who loved his mom and dad and wanted them at the games.
I don't envy the voters, they are in a tough position.
But more important than any football game or award is the sticky situation that has come about. We don't know if this girl got raped or not but nobody should be willing to overlook the situation just because the state attorney, who was given the case a year late and called it a "cluster" did not think he had a winnable case.
It's hard to know what that means, it could mean that there is no evidence and it shouldn't have taken this long to officially say there was not enough for a case. Or it could mean that there is evidence, but because the Police didn't investigate it properly, that they have ruined any chance of prosecuting the case.
Somebody is getting the shaft here, and it may be Jameis Winston, or it may be the girl, either way it seems football should take a back seat to the whole situation until the dust has settled, and right now, any resolution for the victim, whoever that may be, is a long ways off. If nothing else, I think that police department needs a good house cleaning.
I'd be interested to hear thoughts on how the Heisman Committee might handle this situation or prepare themselves should they end up in this position again.
Here's a great read on the current situation:
"When State Attorney Willie Meggs told reporters last week that there was not enough evidence to charge the Florida State quarterback with a crime, it did not suggest his innocence. It meant only what Meggs said, that the accuser’s story — combined with an incredible delay by the Tallahassee Police Department in getting the case to the state — did not make for a good case to take to court."http://www.dallasnews.com/sports/columnists/tim-cowlishaw/20131212-cowlishaw-only-two-know-if-jameis-winston-decision-is-justice-but-it-s-important-progress.ece
"Could (State Attorney) Meggs charge FSU quarterback Jameis Winston, star of the second-ranked Seminoles, with sexual battery for an incident that took place in a local apartment back in December 2012 but came across his desk only last week
"On the same day the department handed over the Winston case to prosecutors, a Leon County grand jury issued a stinging report criticizing the department for how it handled a drunken
driving arrest. The arrest — which left the female driver with a broken bone in her face
— created such an uproar this fall that it prompted Chief Dennis Jones to abruptly retire."
"The video from the August arrest of Christina West showed officers slamming her into a police car before throwing her to the ground. West can be heard screaming in the video. West's
attorney said the police "treated her like an animal
" and has already placed the city on notice that West plans to sue them.
The grand jury blamed the department — which has placed the two officers involved in the arrest on administrative leave — for allowing the situation to escalate.
"We find the sarcastic comments and lack of professionalism by the arresting officers, after Ms. West was injured, was disconcerting," the grand jury said
in its presentment. "We
further find that the sergeants failed to intervene in the arrest and also de-escalate the situation by not following their own policies and procedures. They also failed to demonstrate the
respect for citizens that this community demands from its law enforcement officers.""
"The report issued Nov. 12 on the West case was the third grand jury report released in the last five years to slam the department.
The most damning report came in the wake of the May 2008 death of Rachel Hoffman. Hoffman, a Florida State University graduate who was recruited by police as an informant after being
caught with drugs, was shot five times after police lost track of her during a drug deal.
Hoffman, of Safety Harbor, was sent alone by police with $13,000 in marked bills to buy Ecstasy, cocaine and a gun, according to records. Instead, the men killed her and stole her car, a
credit card and the marked money."http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/ncaaf/2013/11/24/police-handling-of-fsu-players-case-under-fire/3691827/
"Carroll described the problems with the investigation as "so significant and so multiple."The lead detective got a search warrant for her client's cellphone and social media accounts but failed to do the same for Winston and his two companions immediately after the
accusations were made
, Carroll said."http://cbs12.com/news/top-stories/stories/vid_11886.shtml